This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 20, 2021:
West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin removed all doubt anyone might have had about Senate passage of Joe Biden's massive signature legacy bill, Build Back Better, on Saturday. After informing the White House, Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was withdrawing from any further negotiations over the bill, he went public on Fox News:
When you have these things coming at you the way they are right now, I've always said this: if I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it.
And I can't vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't.
I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there.
Fox News host Bret Baier asked: “You're done? This is a no?”
Manchin replied: “This is a no on this legislation.”
What “things?” Manchin referred to “inflation,” “geopolitical unrest,” “the COVID variant,” leaving unsaid the most important “thing”: the impact BBB would have on the voters in West Virginia.
West Virginia is the nation's fifth-largest energy-producing state. It has the nation's third-largest reserves of national gas. The state's economy revolves around energy. And Biden's BBB would eviscerate West Virginia.
The ultimate result of BBB would be to end West Virginia's dependence upon fossil-fuel generation. What Manchin did was respond to the simple fact that geology trumps ideology.
In a statement following the interview, Manchin's office said that the BBB was a lie: “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office [CBO] determined the cost is upwards of $4.5 trillion, which is more than double what [its] ardent supporters have claimed. They continue to camouflage the rest of the cost … behind this bill.”
If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains….
I will never forget the warning from then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff … during my first year in the Senate. He testified that the greatest threat facing our nation was our national debt.
Since that time our debt has doubled.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki assured Manchin's implacable resistance to any further bills the Biden administration might care to present in the future by calling him a liar:
Senator Manchin's comments this morning on Fox are at odds with his discussions this week with the president, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances….
They represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator's colleagues in the House and Senate.
She then dismissed Manchin's claim that the bill would add trillions to the national debt by repeating the canard: “The plan is fully paid for, is the most fiscally responsible major bill that Congress has considered in years, and reduces the deficit in the long run.”
She followed by denying reality: “We will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word.”
The White House will press on, regardless, said Psaki: “We will not relent in the fight … Build Back Better is too important to give up. We will find a way to move forward next year.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took the lead from Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders by announcing that when the Senate returns early next year he will press for a vote on BBB, forcing Manchin to “go public” with his decision. Said Sanders:
We've been dealing with Mr. Manchin for month after month after month. If he doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world.
If this happens, it will cement Manchin's opposition to anything Schumer or Sanders care to present next year. Manchin is the single lawmaker who now controls the debate and the conversation, without whose support Biden cannot pass a single new law or confirm a single nominee.
Taxpayers can breathe again. Most of them oppose many of the items in the massive bill, including making reparation payments to illegal immigrants, expanding the power and reach of the Internal Revenue Service (irs), weakening work requirements for welfare benefits, forcing the transition to electric vehicles, expanding Medicare further, and providing federal funding for abortions.
Thanks to the scorched-earth statements issued by Psaki and Schumer, there is virtually no chance that BBB will be resurrected next year, leaving Democrats with little to brag about as the November midterm elections approach.